The dwarven fighters, rescues and rescuers all huddle around, now that the immediate danger has passed. The gnome and the kid introduce themselves as Felix Phileas ‘Nosey’ Parker-Tinker and Darrius Wesker, and they thank Elo, ‘Zeag and Merri for rescuing them. The group start to take their leave, as the dwarves have started to take control of the situation and are shepherding the prisoners away to be bathed, fed and rested. Before they can get away however, Felix offers to buy them a round as thanks for his rescue. At first they are reluctant, but hey, free beer, so they agree and trundle off via Meri’s folks’ place to get felix and Darius cleaned up. while the others wait for them to sort themselves out, merri nurses a pint, and Elo gets some paper and a pen from Agatha, Merri’s mam, and writes a letter to her own, adoptive, mother regarding what happened and to let her family know she is safe.
Eventually they are all sorted and tromp out to merri’s local, the Hammer and Anvil, owned by her Uncle Snorri. Felix gets their first round, and another pint and dinner is provided on the house. Darius says he doesn’t have any cash, and the bartender jokes there’s plenty of dishes to be washed. The others say they’ll spot him, to save him having to deal with Dwarven Dishes, but he pipes up he doesn’t mind doing the dishes. Out of mischief, because the kid is so young (he’s only 15, bless him) they say ‘sure okay, off you pop then’.
While the others enjoy their pint, Darrius is shown to the kitchen and begins the mountainous task of washing the dishes. He doesn’t do too badly, only breaking a few, and about halfway through is presented with dinner as well. He tries the beer and even though it’s watered, pulls a face after his first glug, and lets out a literally explosive belch. Elo goes to check on him, along with Merri and Felix. Darrius is fine, but he get’s shouted at by the Chef for ruining a steak tartar. At some point he calls Elo a titch, and she glares at him, but the Chef starts to give him a proper bollocking, which results in Darius casting Mirror Image to sneak away from Chef. This doesn’t work, as not only does Elo see him, but so does the chef. Darrius is forced to apologize to Elo and then sent back to work by the chef.
It is about this point, in the main bar, that a High Paladin of Moradin comes wearily stomping into the bar. He is handed a pint, and and he takes a deep draught before pounding a well-armoured fist on the bar and decrying the state of the fight. He says that they’re properly down to the dregs of fighters now, and he doesn’t know how much more they can take as a mountain, and even his own son, who’s not even 50, is looking like he’ll have to join the front line.
During this, Elo has glanced at Merri and ‘Zeag, and given them significant looks, murmuring that first thing in the morning they need to head out and get this bloody thing sorted. They nod in agreement, and Felix inquires what exactly this is regarding, but his question is drowned out by the ranting paladin. Eventually Elo can’t stand to listen any more, and she interrupts him, telling him that though they had failed before, the three of them would finish what they started and set out at first ‘light’, to finish this battle.
He instantly knows who they are, and introduces himself as Hamish Orebinder. He tells them that what they did before, even if it didn’t work out, was not necessarily a failure and that if they want to finish what they’ve started, then he might have some options for them, and that after they have finished their dinner, that they should go with him back to his chapter house in order to learn out the plans already in force. He admits however, he isn’t sure that the three of them alone with be enough, and Felix announces that as he is a sorcerer, he will be happy to lend them a hand. A voice pipes up from the kitchen, and Darius’ face appears in the hatchway, and he says he’d also like to go. The group briefly consider it, and Elo agrees, but lays down strict ground rules as how he’s to behave while in the field.
(At this point God-GM asks why, and is reminded that Elo, at 19, is only a kid herself, and wouldn’t be able to handle yet *another* loss)
They eventually finish their drinks and food, and Darrius finishes the dishes (and receives a paycheck – whoo cash!), so they head to the local chapter house of the Paladins with Hamish. They are introduced to a full council of war, with the head of the chapter house in attendance, as well as a few other high-ranking officers.
Since their own forces are getting stretched too thin, the chapter Master has asked for the assistance of the King’s Guard. He has spoken to their head and is confident they will join in the battle. The group are told that not only will Torg be there, but their spies say a council of the clan heads has been called. The main force of dwarfs will help push through the front lines, and create a gap through which the group can slip, and then they will carry on towards where the council is being held and then assassinate the council members. The group agree that sounds like a good plan, and they agree to meet on the morrow and advance. The war-planning ends, and Hamish asks if there is anything he can get them that will help. They say the two sorcerers have nothing to their respective names, so some neophyte packs are provided, with standard kit such as bedroll and waterskins within it. They retire to bed.
The next morning, they assemble in the main square of this level, where a huge force has gathered. There is the sounds of an argument coming from the middle of the throng however, and the group push their way through to see the captain of the King’s Guard and the Chapter Master shouting at each other. The conflict seems to revolve around the fact that time is pressing on and the chapter Master wants to leave, but the King’s Captain has yet to receive official word that he is released from his duties to take his force into this fight. Elo interrupts them and joins in with the shouting. The Chapter Master wants to just leave already, but the Captain says that the King will be here any moment to give the word. They argue for a little bit more and then become aware of a sudden hush descended over the crowd.
Merri pulls Elo and the others aside as through the parting crowd comes a young-ish dwarf, with a massive beard and a crown, attended by the Archlecter. Merri kneels, as do the Captain and Chapter Master, and everyone else follows suit. The King says to the throng, that he stands there not just as King, but as a very worried dwarf, and that he sincerely wants their fight to go well. He releases the Captain from his duties, and give the Chapter master the field on which to win victory. With that he and the Archlecter turn and leave, and the forces match to their places.
In the midst of the fighting, the group are passed to the front and out the other side of the main lines. They hurry through as best the can and into a labyrinth of forgotten dwarven roads. They sally forth until they are within viewing distance of the temple, where a curious sight meets their eyes.
The temple is akin to a ring of standing stones, complete with lintel stones, and a large table in the middle of it. Currently, the table is surrounded by 14 chattering and bickering kobolds, and a human man who stands, tall and aloof. He turns and Elo sees that it’s their very own priest of Wee Jas – Darkhide, the necromancer who tried to sell them to Drow.
He turns to the council and tells them that he and his fellows are pleased with what they have achieved so far with Torg as their leader, but he wonders if they can set aside their squabbling for long enough to finish the job. He tells them that they’ve been given ample resources to complete the task he has set, and he wonders how much longer it will take. He mentions that a portal is being built in Castle Dire to bring through undead reinforcements.
At this point a old, bent kobold, with a hood covering it’s face, says Kutulmack has foreseen that he will be defeated by the five, when the hammer is high in the sky. Darkhide scoffs and says they have been sent running, that Toreguard is being taken as they speak. Another kobold asks what care have the Children of Kutulmack of foreign places, and Darkhide says the kobolds should remember who their masters are. A different kobold tries to object, and Darkhide, angry with their insolence, turns the first objector into another Death Knight. Before any of our heros can fire anything ranged at them, Darkhide vanishes.
The champions absorb this information, and are trying to figure out a plan of attack when the old kobold, his face shadowed still, comes before them and begs their indulgence. Elo is skeptical at best, and keeps her crossbow trained on him until he leads them away and proves to them that, while not exactly on their side, he certainly isn’t on the necromancer’s side. He offers to show them where the other death knights are, but they say they have a mission, to kill Torg and his council, and they damn well intend to finish it. The old kobold sighs and says he will wait there for them when they are ready.
They return to the council arena and scout out a bit. The standing stones, where the clan heads stand, are ringed by the clan’s war bands. Determined to keep Darius out of trouble, Elo directs the group thus: Enizeage and Merri will sneak to one side of the the death knight; Merri will both protect and heal ‘Zeage while he holds the Death knight’s attention. Felix will sneak around behind the Knight and batter him with magic, while Elo and Darius will sneak around to the other side of the stones and take out the council.
It is a good plan, it seems solid, but as usual it does not survive contact with the enemy. Felix, Zeage and Merri set of in the one direction, moving unheard and unseen, while Darius and Elo go the other way… and Elo trips over a guy rope. She falls flat on her face, crossbow flying out of sight, and Darrius freezes, unsure. Within seconds they are surrounded by guards who lead them to the council.
“Look over here! I’m a Distraction!” – Elowen
The council tries to interrogate Elo, but she is snarky. Then they turn their attention to Darius and Elo objects. Fortunately, given all eyes are on her and Darry, the others have managed to move into position and now launch their attack. While Felix, Zeage and Merri execute their part of the plan beautifully, Darrius and Elo are precisely where they don’t want to be. As Darrius vaporizes the guards to one side of them, Elo manages to yoink her crossbow from a different guard, and sends a bolt into his gut.
At this change of events, the council start to run away, leaving a damaged kobold on the table, the death knight to one side and 10 of the remaining 13 in the group’s sights. Darius vaporizes some more guards and then Felix has his go…